Rakesh's movie talk
Blood Work (2002)

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Directed by Clint Eastwood
Written by Brian Helgeland (based on a novel by Michael Connelly)
Starring Clint Eastwood, Angelica Houston, Wanda de Jesus and Jeff Daniels.


When they announced Eastwood was doing this movie, and after reading the synopsis of the plot, I was overjoyed. Yeah! Eastwood back in his familiar territory, a crime thriller.


And I waited, and waited, and waited. The movie never showed up in Malaysian theatres. I had to watch it on disc. I was at first angry with the local distributors. But then, they could have been right, if they were to think that the movie would not do well. It wouldn’t have lasted a week amidst other popcorn fares.


In fact, even most of the critics (except the one by the revered Roger Ebert) gave bad review. Is the movie that bad?


Well, I don’t think so. I know, I am speaking from a fan’s point of view. Having seen most of Eastwood’s movie, I am very used to the relaxed pace of his films. In fact, this must be the most relaxed of them all. It has to. Blame the lead character.


Eastwood plays an ace FBI agent, McCaleb, an expert in Crime Scene. The film starts with a one and follows with a chase scene (on foot), and eventually leads to McCaleb collapsing because of heart attack.


Two years later, McCaleb gets a heart transplant and goes on retirement living in a boat when a beautiful woman named Graciela Rivers (Wanda De Jesus) shows up. We learn that McCaleb is now living on her sister’s heart. The sister was murdered and Graciela wants McCaleb to find out who did it.


What follows is a typical whodunit; with a twist whereby there is a chance Eastwood might kill himself, as he is not in a condition to undertake such an arduous Sherlock Holmes task. To help him, he enlists the help of his neighbour, Buddy (Jeff Daniels) to be his chauffer. And of course, this does not please his doctor (Angelica Houston) who almost gives up on McCaleb who seemed to be more on a suicide mission, now that the job is taking toll on his health.


A lots of critic complained about the obviousness of the whodunit element. Sure, but like many great murder mysteries, we are more concerned with the ‘whys’. And also, we are, like the doctor, very concerned about this ex-Dirty Harry’s health. Things get very personal towards the end and we realise how much the whole deal, the heart transplant, the killing all centred around McCaleb. Damn! I think I gave away something there. Anyway, as mentioned earlier, its easy to figure out the whodunit part, so it’s okay.


I warned you already that the film crawls as far as the pace is concerned, but if you are involved with the lead character, you will have enough heart stopping time of good fun.